The Law School welcomed the 251 members of the JD Class of 2016 last week, whose wide range of talents, experiences, and accomplishments reflects the diversity-embracing culture of the Penn Law community.
The Law School’s 1Ls traveled to campus from 35 states, the District of Columbia and countries across the globe, including Bulgaria, Canada, China, South Korea, New Zealand, and the U.K.
“Our entering students come from a wide range of academic, professional, and ideological backgrounds. They are not only academically gifted, but also professionally accomplished, intellectually curious, and diverse by every measure,” said Renee C. Post, Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid.
At a time when law school applications nationally have declined across the board, the members of the Class of 2016 enter Penn with record-high GPAs and LSAT scores in the 98th percentile, Post added. They were admitted from more than 5,300 applicants, with an acceptance rate of 17 percent.
Thirty percent of the new students identify as people of color, and 46 percent are women. They range in age from 20 to 33, with the average age being 24. Several are first-generation Americans, and some are first-generation college students and the first members of their family to attend law school.
Measured by what they have already accomplished, this next generation of lawyers are global citizens, committed as well to improving their local communities.
They include the co-founder of an international organization for women’s rights, a member of a national taskforce on U.S. compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the mentor of a team of undergraduate engineers working on a food security project in Ghana, and the leader of community-based anti-bullying programs for school-aged children.
A significant number of the entering students are teachers, having taught pre-K, elementary, middle, and high school, as well as at the university level. Some have taught internationally, including the recipients of several Fulbright scholarships. The class includes several paralegals and legal assistants, the founder of an educational software company, and a consultant to a solar energy company - as well as a recent NHL hockey player, a trapeze artist, and an ordained Rabbi.
Among the many items on the students’ resumes is work at federal agencies (U.S. Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Consumer Protection Financial Bureau), advocacy organizations like the ACLU, and large corporations such as media giant CBS.
They are intellectually adventurous: the 10 percent who have previously attended graduate school hold advanced degrees in American Studies, Biomedical Engineering, Business Administration, Clinical Psychology, Theology, Political Science, International Economics, Labor and Employment Relations, and other disciplines.
Along with these many accomplishments, the Class of 2016 brings to the Law School great artistic and athletic ability. Many play instruments (drums being the most common). There are members of improv comedy troupes, several DJs, and a championship Irish dancer. In addition to counting an NHL hockey player among their number, many of the students were captains of sports teams and have used their athletic ability to teach basketball, field hockey, tennis, swimming, and juggling.
For more information about the JD program and how to apply, please visit Penn Law Admissions.